Lincoln seeks to sell ambulance to Patten

This story was published on Oct. 19, 2006 on Page B2 in edition 1, 3 of the Bangor Daily News

LINCOLN – The town’s attempt to get into the ambulance transportation business ended earlier this week when the Town Council voted 4-2 to sell the ambulance it bought to Patten for $36,001, town officials said Wednesday.

The sale will not become official unless the residents of Patten vote to accept the ambulance at a town meeting on Oct. 24, Town Manager Glenn Aho said.

“It was the right move,” Aho said Wednesday of the sale, “because as we later found out, it would have cost taxpayers a lot of money. Competing with the hospital probably would have made both services suffer because there isn’t enough call volume to generate revenue for both services.”

The proposal was for the fire chief to run a part-time ambulance service that would take patients to and from Penobscot Valley Hospital in Lincoln, the PVH dialysis center or to other medical facilities.

A rebuilt 1999 Ford E-450 PL Custom ambulance was purchased for $48,680.

The service would have created about 20 part-time jobs for emergency medical technicians or paramedics.

It would not have replaced or supplemented the PVH ambulance service, which typically handles 911 calls, but it would cut into the non-911 transportation service offered by the East Millinocket Fire Department, which handles the Lincoln Lakes and Katahdin regions.

The fire chief who proposed the idea, William Lee, resigned Feb. 1, 2005, and his successor, Joshua Williams, quit a year later after five months on the job.

“Our reason was to provide better service to residents,” Aho said, looking back at the service plan. “The operation didn’t work out as we would have thought.”

The council also voted 6-0 to strip language describing the proposed ambulance service positions.

Aho took an optimistic view of the decision that the council made in early May to abandon ambulance plans.

“We have expended money along the way, and by abandoning the program, the town will save a lot of money going forward,” he said.

If Patten does not accept the deal, the ambulance will be awarded to the next highest bidder, Capital Ambulance Co., for $27,270.

This article ran on page B3 in the State edition.